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Why would Joseph Smith take a chance on saying an ancient book was written on metal plates?

It seems rather odd that Joseph Smith would have said he found metal plates if he was trying to convince those around him that they were ancient sacred records. Wouldn’t Joseph have been more familiar with scrolls? How did he even know that metal plates were an option? Why would he use metal plates if he would be mocked for it?

High Nibley said:

It will not be long before men forget that in Joseph Smith’s day the prophet was mocked and derided for his description of the plates more than anything else.

– Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, CWHN 5:107.

Since the publication of the Book of Mormon many ancient records have been found to be engraved on metal plates, but where did Joseph get the idea from and why would he take such a chance? 

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